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Refuelling Our Faith – Northern Vicariate celebrates its catechists

By Andrew Fernandes

Coordinator, Northern Vicariate

Every September, the Church recognises the contributions of all her catechists – those whose vocation is to journey with those in faith formation.

The impact of Covid-19 and its subsequent restrictions made it difficult for catechists to function, meet, and catechise in the usual way. However, most catechists soon became proficient in the use of Zoom and other platforms.

With restrictions now fully lifted, the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office (ACO) encouraged vicariates to celebrate their catechists.

The Northern Vicariate in solidarity with the Synodal call for communion, participation, and mission, celebrated their catechists on Saturday, September 2 with a Mass and social gathering at the Church of the Assumption, Maraval. The congregation was then invited to meet, greet, and share a meal in the parish hall. There were approximately 150 catechists in attendance as well as Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju and the Vicar for the Northern Vicariate, Fr Christopher Lumsden. The chief celebrant was Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon.

This was a memorable event, and the response was overwhelming. The Mass was offered for the intentions of all catechists, especially those who are ailing, as well as for those who have died.

The Archbishop’s homily was very stimulating, encouraging and of course, endearing. Reflecting on the gospel reading, he expounded on the need for catechists to be people of prayer.

He highlighted that the candidates in our care must see us as praying people and by this example, they too will develop a habit, and a need for prayer in their lives.

He also expressed some concerns regarding the content of what is passed on, which seemed to be more knowledge rather than substance. He lamented that young people today could get knowledge from many sources, but these resources do not teach them how to articulate what they have learnt in prayer.

He then called for new methodologies in formation which can help animate what is taught. As he summarised his homily, he beseeched catechists not to let the quality of a programme be undermined by its duration.

Achieving the objective of faith formation must be the primary goal. Faith formation must be demonstrative and not just instructive.

He ended emphasising the need for a community approach to faith formation and catechising – the essence of this, is living what we teach.

After the meditation, each parish was represented by a catechist in an activity that symbolised unity in diversity, where each person poured a different colour of sand in a jar, resulting in a myriad of colours – many talents, working together to achieve one goal.

Each catechist received a token of appreciation for their work in the Archdiocese.

Overall, the celebration was a great success and a testament to the dedication and commitment of the catechists in the Northern Vicariate. It was a reminder to all that, despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, the work of faith formation must continue, and that every effort must be made to ensure that the quality of the programmes and the methods of teaching are effective.

The event remained true to its theme – Refuelling Our Faith.